10th March 2020 at 6:26 pm #21457
In November 2019 we had 5 baby hedgehogs visit the garden but no mother in sight, my partner and myself decided we would take these in and try our best to overwinter them, all 5 were only weighing on average 198 g to 226 g and we knew they wouldn’t survive the winter on their own. We purchased 5 large plastic boxes and drilled holes in the sides, purchased straw, cat food etc. and I also made a run so each hedgehog could take a turn and get some exercise. Unfortunately in January we noticed that 2 of the hedgehogs weren’t very well so took them to Tiggy Winkles in Haddenham when they were diagnosed with hedgehog wobble and subsequently had to be put down.
The 3 we had left, thrived and had their own characteristics, they became an extended arm of our family.
Early February we visited Evenley Wood Garden in Northampton to see the first snowdrops coming up, we though what a beautiful, peaceful area for the remaining hedgehogs to live as two had now reached a good weight to be able to survive, in the countryside, with no roads near. I contacted Evenley Woods and explained the situation and asked could we have their permission go back and release the hedgehogs, they were delighted and we arranged a day to go back.
I was a gorgeous February sunny day when we returned and were asked would we mind doing a little talk and release the hedgehogs in front of 50 school children that were visiting from two local schools that day.
The schoolchildren were so interested and excited at the prospect of seeing the Hedgehogs, when we got the first hedgehog out the children’s faces were ablaze with smiles and lots of questions from all around, they were an absolute pleasure to be able to pass on all the information we could and answer their inquisitive questions.
The children kept so quiet while we released the two hedgehogs and were so excited when they wandered off into the undergrowth.
We still have one hedgehog left who’s not quite heavy enough yet to go on his own, but the lady called Alison that greeted us at Evenley Wood Garden said it would be their absolute pleasure to accommodate our last hedgehog when he’s ready to go.
Hopefully our three rescued hedgehogs will go on to lead a long and happy life in the woods at Evenley that we choose for them.10th March 2020 at 7:28 pm #21459
That’s a lovely story, although sorry to hear about the two hoglets who didn’t make it. Well done managing to keep the others going.
There is just one thing. Before you release any more hedgehogs it would be advisable to read the BHPS Guidance for releasing rehabilitated hedgehogs http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BHPS-Guidance-For-relasing-Rehabilitated-Hedgehogs.pdf
In particular you will notice that it’s best for the hedgehogs as well as any potential hedgehogs elsewhere for any rehabilitated hedgehogs to be released back where they came from.
I’m sure you meant well and clearly weren’t aware of the guidance – we can’t know about something until we find out about it – but hopefully you will find it useful in the future.
Good luck31st May 2020 at 12:50 am #24104
Hi thank you for the advice , we did know about releasing near their birth place but felt the need to show 50 school children these wonderful animals and educate them outweighed your advice. The children taking in that these animals do not just exist in story books or computer games but are real animals probably roaming near to them at night will stay with them for a long time. We gave them pictures to take with them about Hedgehog highways, so if only one child has a highway made the lecture did its job.
I know Hedgehogs are meant to be released near their birth place so please correct me if wrong but is it that wobbly hedgehog syndrome is genetic mostly by inbreeding so by moving to a different area hopefully will water the gene down and erase it . Its such a horrible illness having seen it twice.
Arthur Moore1st June 2020 at 2:46 pm #24171
I take your point about the children. However, to me the hedgehogs are a major priority in the equation. There must surely be other ways to educate children than to release hedgehogs into an area foreign to them, where there is the potential that they simply may not survive. Children could be shown hedgehogs and they could still be released into their own home areas. However, I do appreciate that you were attempting to do some good and likely did – for the children and their potential future interactions with hedgehogs in general.
I know little about wobbly hedgehog syndrome, not being a hedgehog carer/rehabilitator, but feel certain that the experts who collaborated to create the advice about releasing hedgehogs, would have taken any such genetic diseases into account when they prepared their advice.
There is the potential that any group of hedgehogs released may interbreed within that group (depending on whether there were males and females, of course) especially if by chance there wasn’t already a population of hedgehogs in the release area. That may make any genetic problem worse. Conversely if there was a population of hedgehogs already in the area, introducing hedgehogs with a potential genetic problem could be introducing that genetic problem to a new community, thus spreading it amongst the wild hedgehog population. As I understand it, these are some of the problems that the advice is trying to avoid.
All I can say is, should the situation arise again, or if others find themselves in a similar situation, PLEASE everyone, think twice and read and follow the advice from BHPS on releasing hedgehogs http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BHPS-Guidance-For-relasing-Rehabilitated-Hedgehogs.pdf If after reading that you still feel unsure you could contact the BHPS and take their advice.
As said, I do appreciate you were trying to do something good. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with circumstances and forget to think of the potential negative repercussions. What has been done cannot be undone. What’s important is what happens in the future – following the guidance of the hedgehog experts and the BHPS regarding release of rehabilitated hedgehogs in the future seems to me to be a pretty good place to start.1st June 2020 at 5:04 pm #24177
I have to agree with Nics advice here. Anyone looking to relocate hedgehogs please take note of the guidance given by the BHPS. They represent the interests of these animals and their advice should be followed.
The only reason for not putting an animal back where it came from is if it is in extreme danger there.
I appreciate that these were released into woods, but did they tell you there were other hedgehogs living there? If there weren’t there will be a reason why!
Taking an animal out of the wild is illegal. Hedgehog carers run a fine line with this.
Putting it somewhere else because you want to educate others is also illegal.
The interests of the hedgehog is the only thing that matters
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